Debate over Columbus Day in NY

10 October, 2017, 00:35 | Author: Phil Peters
  • Man arrested after Christopher Columbus statue vandalized

There will be speakers, music and signs, including one that says, "Columbus didn't discover anything, 1000s of native nations were already here".

Americans in general had a positive view of Columbus.

Such re-evaluations don't change history, but they do change how we remember it.

"This gesture of replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day is a very small step in apologizing and in making amends", Councilman Mike Bonin, the great-grandson of Italian immigrants said, according to The Los Angeles Times. The city council of Austin, Texas, voted last week to take a similar path - and organizers in Pittsburgh said next year's parade there may incorporate more of a "Heritage Day" theme.

President Donald Trump's first presidential proclamation of Columbus Day gave only high praise to the 15th century explorer, a stark contrast to the proclamation made by President Barack Obama one year earlier.

On a municipal level, celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day is a shift adopted in some parts of the country.

Enjoy your Columbus Day and I hope everyone takes time to think about the complexities of history; when accomplishments are measured up against the imperfections of human beings. At Husmann Elementary School, I learned that Christopher Columbus founded this great land we call America and is a hero to our people.

Accusations by some historians that the Italian explorer opened the Americas to enslavement, genocide and "cultural destruction" have led some US cities to cancel local Columbus Day parades and other commemorations and rename the holiday Indigenous Peoples' Day.

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Columbus Day controversy has flared up every fall since, this year with new fervor: Columbus statues from NY to Minnesota to California have faced vandalism or removal amid newly heightened debate on Confederate monuments, sweeping up the 15th-century figure tied to genocide and slavery.

There were also celebrations on Columbus Day to honor the explorer's Italian heritage.

It has been tradition for years to celebrate their nationality on Columbus Day, stressed Tony Ippolito.

"We gather during a teachable moment to discuss the ongoing impacts of that legacy and to commit ourselves to reversing them", the group said.

Christopher Columbus' legendary linking of the Old World to the New is embedded into the fabric of the USA, with schools, businesses, cities, rivers and more named after him.

"Burying history is the worst way", Brophy said.

As an Italian-American and as a NY state legislator, I will staunchly speak out against those who aim to remove a statue of the man who represents our heritage.

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